Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cake Fit for a Farewell

My youngest brother has set off to serve a two year, LDS mission in Phoenix, AZ. For his farewell party/open house, I decided to make him a cake. I started off making an Almond Butter Cake. I used a recipe from Elisa Strauss' book, 'The Confetti Cakes Cookbook'. It was the recipe for Vanilla Cake, but I changed the flavoring. It turned out well with a balanced texture. I will probably use it as my staple basic cake. I made a butter cream, adding some of my mom's raspberry jam. Next I printed an outline of Arizona and used it as a template for shaping the cake. I ended up with two layers and used the butter cream as the filling and for the crumb coat.

Something I've found useful is using a piece of cardboard under the cake. When the cake is finished, then I will either trim down the cardboard (so it isn't visible) or lift the cake off (doesn't work for larger cakes).

I decided to make a white chocolate marshmallow fondant. I usually make marshmallow fondant, because it is so yummy! I wanted to try something new, but next time I'll save the new stuff for practice. The white chocolate fondant was a lot harder to work with and I didn't like the taste.

I did a lot of marbling with the colors. I also dusted some cocoa powder in areas to make the state look more rustic. My mom helped me come up with idea of putting the fondant version of my bro relaxing on his back. I added a little lizard popping over his shoulder, along with some scriptures and two cactus'.

The final step was to draw on the faces, tie and tag. I used some edible writers, but they were low on color and didn't produce the result I was looking for. I wish I would have done them in fondant or hand and learn. I had a fun time making it and my little brother was thrilled.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Purse Cake #2

This is another purse cake, but this time I made with my littlest sister for my other sister's 14th b-day. I made a triple chocolate cake with a vanilla butter cream. My family really liked it...of course I can't eat it because it had wheat...but it looked delish!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bravo, Martha!

It is no secret...I'm a big fan of Martha. I like that people refer to me as 'Martha'. I'm sure there are many that get the same praise from friends. I just seem to get it where ever I go. While on our last out of town trip, we visited Costco and I found this treasure:

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration. It was love at first sight! The book is filled with techniques galore! I could see myself doing every project and using the book often. It should be a staple to any crafter or aspiring crafter. One of my favorite sections:

Okay, so I had like 10 favorite sections!! There are a couple sections on making flowers (air-dry, fabric, beaded, crepe & tissue paper). Ever heard of sun printing? Well that's in there too. Also, at the end of the book for 'XYZ' is a tools and materials guide followed by templates for some of the projects. The book is fairly new, so Amazon has a good price tag (just a few dollars more than Costco).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Applique: Not Just for Kids

I think appliqued shirts for little ones are pretty darn cute. The only thing is I haven't seen many appliqued shirts for adults (that looked fashionable). When I received my fabric order, I wanted to use the pink & green faux Alligator for a shirt. I'd also purchased a long sleeve white tee from Target for like a buck! So, it didn't take long to decide on applique.

I sketched out a design and got to work. I used my Cricut for the letters and made a free hand heart (lopsided on purpose). The 'S' is for my husband first name and the 'J' is for my first name. Of course, it is only natural for me to add a little bling. It kind of looks like metal in the pic, but they are really little clear gems.

It was easy, inexpensive (maybe $2 total) and fun. From start to finish it took an hour, with the majority of the time being spent on attaching the gems. The hardest part was trying to take a pic of myself in the shirt...I guess I could have waited for my husband to get home!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Goodies in The Mail

Another week out of town for me and my hunny, except this time I came home to a lovely box from! They had a big sale a few days before I left and there were several things that I had my eye on.

First, Lila Tueller's Funked Out Peasant Blouse (the only thing I bought that wasn't on sale). I've wanted to buy it for some time now, but wanted to wait until I was buying fabric online for the sake of shipping costs. I can't wait to make this blouse!

Since I was buying the pattern, then I needed some fabric to make it and there was a couple of Heather Bailey prints on sale (from her Freshcut line). I don't usually see her fabric marked down, so I snatched that up quickly.

The other fabrics included two prints from Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop line and two prints from Anna Griffin's Peyton Collection line (the pink & green faux Alligator). I have plans for all the fabric...more on that soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Little Babette

As mentioned in a previous post, I am helping with costumes for Beauty & The Beast. I've been out of town and running around like a mad woman leaving little time to work on costumes. There is a month until opening night, so I'm trying to get as much done in the next week as I can. Here is a pic of Babette's basic costume. It is hard to get a pic using hangers, instead of a body or form!

The dress is a corset style (in the back). I want to add a few details, like white sequin trim on the bodice. I still need to make a head piece, cuffs and skirt w/feathers. The feather skirt will go just above the knees under the dress, so it can be an easy transformation from fantasy character to human. There will be two sets of cuffs and most likely two head/hair pieces. It is so much fun, especially with the new fancy sewing machine my husband got me!

Home Spa #1

Need some R&R? I've had such an adventurous week that I know I do! Last month, for a young women's church activity, I taught the girls how to make some home spa treatments. One of my favorites was the bath cookies. I decided to add some dried lavender (from my garden). The end result was fragrant and yummy looking cookies! If you are familiar with other bath cookies, like from Lush, expect this recipe to produce a different kind of cookie. When you are ready to use, crumble 1-2 cookies while you draw your bath.

2 cups finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 T light oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
2 eggs
5-6 drops essential oil of your choice

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all the listed ingredients and form into a dough. Using a teaspoon or so of dough at a time, roll it gently in the palm of your hand until it forms a ball. Form all dough into one teaspoon balls, and gently place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Consider sprinkling the bath balls with herbs, flower petals, cloves, citrus zest and similar aromatic ingredients. Bake your bath cookies for ten minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over bake. Allow the bath cookies to cool completely. To use, Drop 1 or 2 cookies into a warm bath and allow to dissolve. Yield: 24 cookies, enough for 12 baths.

**I highly recommend visiting SPA INDEX for other spa treatment recipes.**

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pink Persimmon

Please excuse the absence...I have a lot of mental posts that I would like to get on here! One of the things I wanted to share over the last month is Pink Persimmon. They sell some seriously cute clear stamps! They have a smaller selection, but I want them ALL! Especially the Banner Set, Little Red Wagon, Oh Dear!.....okay just check out the product page, because I'd end up listing them all.

There is also a tutorial for a Page Corner Bookmark. It would be a cute addition to a friend gift or for yourself. I have plenty of books that would be happy to house this bookmark.

Pink Persimmon also has a blog with some cute ideas. I like their little Valentines Day Note Card Box. It looks like they used a little Sassafras Lass scrapbook paper (another fav of mine).